What is a heritage breed

PandaGirl

Chirping
Jan 27, 2021
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So if you got chicks from a hatchery, say, Columbian Wyandottes, and started breeding them towards the standard, would your birds be heritage birds?
Heritage birds should be purchased from a heritage breeder. It takes a long time to get them to APAS standard of perfection. Check out Jim Atkins on youtube also farmer George Wipple does one with the livestock conservatory. How to breed a better chicken.
I was kind of wondering the same thing. If I took my Orpingtons that I have now and breed lets say 10 chickens. Then at butchering weight culled the 5 lightest, and kept the other 5 for breeding, would this slowly make them bigger, or more like the APAS. I am really not concerned about it to much, but If I am going to try and butcher some Orpingtons for meat, I would like them to be the biggest birds I can get. Is this culling process how the breeder come up with there bigger/APAS standard perfection breed, because from what I can tell there weight is pretty much the only difference.
 

Sally PB

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The "standard of perfection" (SOP) covers a lot more than how big the bird will get. It includes how many points are on the comb, the shape of the bird's back, how wide the body gets, etc. Someone who knows more, please chime in here.

Think of show dogs. They are pure breeds, and only a few are good enough to do well in shows. We had two pure bred Dobermans, and though they were wonderful dogs (which is what we wanted), they were nowhere near show quality.
 

swampfox440

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I was kind of wondering the same thing. If I took my Orpingtons that I have now and breed lets say 10 chickens. Then at butchering weight culled the 5 lightest, and kept the other 5 for breeding, would this slowly make them bigger, or more like the APAS. I am really not concerned about it to much, but If I am going to try and butcher some Orpingtons for meat, I would like them to be the biggest birds I can get. Is this culling process how the breeder come up with there bigger/APAS standard perfection breed, because from what I can tell there weight is pretty much the only difference.
Sounds like you got it together. I wanted some heritage birds a few years back and found them hard to find. Now I have a rooster that is a Cuokoo english orpington and I have to get a photo. He is big broad breasted. I just got lucky with one I hatched.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
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It would be a long and painful road to breed hatchery stock into anything close to a standard bred. Only culling the bottom 50% would take even longer. Keep in mind that breeders of standard bred stock obtain one bird worth breeding every ten birds hatched. A bird of show quality from that flock is closer to 1 in 100 birds hatched.

Standard bred birds adhere to that breed's standard of perfection. Which if a traditional dual purpose bird equates to a larger bird with more width. Keep in mind that the heritage breeds of America that were prized by Europe were dual purpose. The Orpington was England's attempt of a National breed that could compete with Plymouth Rocks. To satisfy the standard of body type for the dual purpose breeds it is inherent the egg laying abilities lessen. The body type of an egg layer is that of Leghorn and you'll note that the "breeds" sold from hatcheries are thinner and smaller as they were bred to lay many eggs. That's what the average backyard chicken owner wants- egg layers.

Even if we adhere to the thought that today's hatchery breed is 100% lineage from original breed the birds are so far from the standard body type of the breed it is being sold as that one can not say it is still that breed. There is nothing "heritage" about it other than breeding two of those inferior birds ( in regards to the breed standard) will produce offspring that are equally inferior. I'm not bashing the birds from hatcheries. They provide excellent layers for backyard hobbyist that come in many colors and near patterns but they are certainly not a breed they merely resemble it.
 
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ColtHandorf

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I was kind of wondering the same thing. If I took my Orpingtons that I have now and breed lets say 10 chickens. Then at butchering weight culled the 5 lightest, and kept the other 5 for breeding, would this slowly make them bigger, or more like the APAS. I am really not concerned about it to much, but If I am going to try and butcher some Orpingtons for meat, I would like them to be the biggest birds I can get. Is this culling process how the breeder come up with there bigger/APAS standard perfection breed, because from what I can tell there weight is pretty much the only difference.
That would not work since you're not breeding to the SOP. You actually have to know what that is to get it to work. And it would take absolutely ages.
 

PandaGirl

Chirping
Jan 27, 2021
71
47
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If I did find a hatchery and get birds from there, could I then continue to breed those birds at home and get the same quality as there parents?
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,573
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NEK, VT
Yes you can. It takes knowing what to look for and having an eye for details. With that you choose the breeders. Learn and work from there. The quality of stock you start with is important. Maintaining a breed is hard enough. Attempting to improve it can take many generations. Start with the best stock you can obtain/afford. Do your homework and have fun.
 

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